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After Femi Falana’s threat, NBA also issues FG, DisCos 7-day ultimatum

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Less than 48 hours after human rights activist and lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, (SAN), made it known he was headed for the courts to seek justice over the recent hike in electricity tariff,  the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja Branch, has given the Federal Government and Electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, a seven-day ultimatum to reverse to the old electricity tariff or face a lawsuit.

The chairman of the branch, Seyi Olawunmi, said this at a news conference on Tuesday in Lagos, NAN reports.

Mr Olawunmi described the increase in the electricity tariff by almost 300 per cent as not only unreasonable but also insensitive.

He said the National Electric Regulation Commission, NERC, order in respect to the tariff hike was not in line with the current economic realities of an average Nigerian.

He said the branch would seek appropriate remedies in the court if the Federal Government and concerned individuals failed to reverse the illegal electricity tariffs within seven days.

Mr Olawunmi noted that NERC in December 2023, issued a new Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO 2024) which indicated a purported cost-reflective tariff chargeable by the various Discos.

He explained that large chunk of the electricity tariff was reportedly absorbed by the Federal Government under a subsidy arrangement.

The chairman said that the purported subsidy had reportedly been removed by the Federal Government, leading to an over 300 per cent increase in the electricity tariff payable by the end-user.

“We view this sudden astronomical increase in the end-user tariff irrespective of the technical arguments preferred in justification, as utterly exploitative and non-reflective of the current economic hardship that the masses are going through.

“The inflation and the depreciation of the Naira has affected their services that it is practically impossible to remain on the old tariff and electricity in Nigeria is not well priced.

“We, therefore, demand immediate stop to the illegal implementation of the N225 per kWh imposed on the so called band A customers at the discretion of both the Discos and NERC without any empirical basis.

“The classification into band A or B or C or D or E should be scrapped and it is either the Discos are guaranteeing 24 hours supply for all or they are not.”

Mr Olawunmi said the government and the Nigerian people can not continue to subsidise their inefficiency in the name of band A or B or C etc.

“If the government fails to reverse the illegal hike within seven days, we will be left with no choice than to seek appropriate remedies in the court of law,” the NBA Chairman said. 

Everyday.ng reports that on a Channels TV show on Monday night, Falana took the minister and the NERC to the cleaners.

His words: “The Minister of Power, Mr Adebayo Adelabu has failed to address the question of the illegality of the tariffs.

“Section 116 of the Electricity Act 2023 provides that before an increase can approved and announced, there has to be a public hearing conducted based on the request of the DISCOS to have an increase in the electricity tariffs. That was not done.

“Secondly, neither the minister nor the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has explained why the impunity that characterised the increase can be allowed.

“I have already given a notice to the commission because these guys are running Nigeria based on impunity and we can not continue like this. When a country claims to operate under the rule of law, all actions of the government, and all actions of individuals must comply with the provisions of relevant laws.

“Secondly, the increase was anchored on the directives of the commission that customers in Band A will have an uninterrupted electricity supply for at least 20 hours a day. That directive has been violated daily. So, on what basis can you justify the increase in the electricity tariffs….

“The Honourable Minister of Power is acting the script of the IMF and the World Bank.”

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